BracketRacket: A floor, a Big Shocker and the Noid
Welcome to BracketRacket, your one-stop shopping place for all things NCAA.
Today's menu includes a time-lapse of the Final Floor being built, one great Big Shocker, some hatin' on Ohio State's Aaron Craft, a familiar name atop a bracket challenge and intense loyalty by Domino's CEO with a side of Noid to go with it.
And for dessert, we've got some Bracket Bits that include a massive bracket, a Hurricane rap and a La Salle drummer who appears to be channeling Paul Rudd.
THE FINAL COURT
The court for the Final Four is being built by a Michigan company before being shipped to Atlanta.
Connor Sport Court International says it has been working on the maple floor since last year.
It was made at the company's plant in Amasa, Mich., and finished at another location. The plant also made the court for the women's Final Four in New Orleans.
See the men's court being put together in this cool time-lapse video: http://bit.ly/YdmLRl .
THE BIG SHOCKER
The WWE has a history of plucking athletes from other sports and molding them into wrestlers, including champion Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, a former football player at Miami.
Former WWE champion The Big Show was once The Big Shocker.
Known then as Paul Wight and wearing No. 50, he averaged 2.0 points and 2.1 rebounds in 21 games (with one start) for Wichita State in 1991-92. Though he's become a Miami fan after living in South Florida so long -- at 7-foot, 450 pounds, he may be the biggest Hurricanes fan out there -- he'd love to see the Shockers reach the championship game.
"I'm very proud of the fact that the program has really turned itself around," he told AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston. "It's great for the city. It's great for the old Henry Levitt Arena. I remember a lot of great pickup games there, even in the offseason. Xavier McDaniel would come back and Harvey Grant would come in. Barry Sanders. The fact that the Wichita State program is doing so well, I'm very happy for them."
After years of performing in front of 70,000-plus fans, Show has learned to manage his nerves, something he wished he had better control of at Wichita State.
"I remember I got my first start at Southern Illinois," he said. "I remember we were walking off the plane and the assistant coach comes up to me and says, `You're starting tonight.' I remember just being completely nerve-wracked. The ball felt like an egg in my hand. I was so mentally screwed up over that. It was the first time I ever had a lot of pressure that hit me hard. I started for about 3 or 4 minutes, got sat on the bench and things were back to normal again."
The WWE will hold its own version of March Madness at WrestleMania, April 7 in East Rutherford, N.J.
HATIN' ON CRAFT
The folks at Grantland.com have put together a bracket that's sure to drum up annoying memories for college hoops fans.
The bracket -- seen here http://es.pn/10cFs7N -- features the most hated college basketball players over the past 30 years and includes one player in this year's NCAA tournament: Ohio State's Aaron Craft.
Unlike his team, the scrappy point guard didn't make it out of the first round, ousted by former Florida irritant Joakim Noah.
Craft took the nomination as a sort of backhanded compliment, comparing himself to OSU video coordinator Greg Paulus, the former Duke point guard who lost in the first round of the Duke region to eventual champion Christian Laettner.
"I know I wasn't the fondest of Gregory (Paulus) when he played. I'm assuming it's very similar to what's going on right now with me," Craft said. "Greg's one of the nicest guys I know. I didn't know him, I just chose not to like him very much. It is what it is. Go out and take care of business and let things fall where they may."
NICHOLAS BIG IN MARCH AGAIN
The co-leader in the Washington Post's Bracket Challenge is someone a few college hoops fans might remember, particularly those of you in ACC country.
Tied atop the big board is none other than Drew Nicholas, who played for Maryland from 1999-2003 and hit one of the most memorable shots in Terps' history: a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the first round of the 2003 NCAA tournament to defeat UNC-Wilmington.
It's the 10-year anniversary of Nicholas dribbling nearly the length of the court to hit his shot -- seen here http://bit.ly/9583bK -- so it's kind of fitting that he's getting some more March glory, albeit it on a much smaller scale.
Drew played in Europe from 2003-12 and has returned to start a career as a TV and radio analyst. He entered the Post's bracket as a fan.
LOYAL PIZZA CEO
Domino's is the official pizza of March Madness, but the company's CEO did not fill out a bracket because of deep-rooted bias.
"I did not, and usually don't, because I'm just kind of a rabid fan of one team, and I hate filling out anything that doesn't wind up with University of Michigan winning at the end," Patrick Doyle told AP Business Writer Christina Rexrode.
Doyle attended Michigan, his predecessor, Dave Brandon, is the Wolverines' athletic director and Domino's is based in Ann Arbor, so it's no surprise that his loyalties run so deep.
Doyle even stayed in the same dorm with the basketball players, including Roy Tarpley, during his freshman year.
"I remember feeling extremely short -- and I'm 6-4," Doyle said.
But Rexrode didn't just talk to Doyle about college hoops. She couldn't resist asking him about this, uh, guy? from the `80s, the Noid: http://bit.ly/10jeh9h
"He was a big part of Domino's history. I don't think there's anybody around here that doesn't have a warm spot for the Noid," Doyle said.
We're going to leave that one alone.
A few quick-hitting items on the bracket before the next round of games begin:
If you're in the market for an oversized NCAA tournament bracket -- isn't everyone? -- this might be worth a look: http://kck.st/YrBFTz
The Miami Hurricanes postgame rap from Sports Illustrated: http://bit.ly/YIBGzD
Your bracket in shambles. Perhaps try this method next year: http://bit.ly/Yz3vxf
Fitting the dance theme in recent BracketRackets, FGCU's manager channeled his inner Pee-Wee Herman here: http://bit.ly/11Af9aS
This is either the drummer in La Salle's band or a new Paul Rudd character: http://bit.ly/14p2wUm
Check out the new addition at the top of Fort Myers', er Dunk City's, web page: http://www.cityftmyers.com/
STAT OF THE DAY
La Salle has taken a roundabout road to Los Angeles for its West Region semifinal game against Wichita State.
The Explorers were one of the First Four teams and opened in Dayton, Ohio, a trip of 539 miles. From there, La Salle went 598 miles to Kansas City and now has a 1,617-mile trip to LA to play in the Staples Center.
That's a total of 2,754 miles.
Hopefully they're getting airline miles with it.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Busted." -- President Barack Obama after being asked about how he's feeling about his bracket.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index